Just 117,000 tactical voters could deprive Boris Johnson of majority, new poll finds

Posted On: 
27th November 2019

Boris Johnson could be deprived of a Commons majority if just 117,000 people vote tactically to defeat Tory candidates, according to a new poll.

Boris Johnson.
Credit: 
PA

The Best for Britain survey suggests the Tories are currently on course to get 366 seats in next month’s election, and Labour, Lib Dems, SNP, Greens and Plaid Cymru would hold a combined 265.

Under this scenario Jeremy Corbyn would have just 199 MPs, even fewer than Michael Foot got as leader during the disastrous 1983 election campaign.

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And with a majority of more than 80 it would be a huge victory for the Prime Minister, allowing him to force his Brexit deal through Parliament in time for the Article 50 deadline on 31 January.

But the campaign group Best for Britain say that requires the Conservatives to win a large number of marginal constituencies, where tactical voting could prevent them from victory.

They say if people are willing to “hold their nose and vote for the party with the best shot of beating the Tories”, we could end up with another hung Parliament.

They have published analysis revealing 57 target seats where the chances of pro-EU voters successfully doing so are highest.

The anti-Brexit group adds: “In 27 of these seats it would take less than 2,000 tactical votes to prevent a Conservative victory.

“In Keighley it would take just 29 Green and Lib Dem voters backing Labour to prevent the Conservative Party winning the seat.

“Nationally, Best for Britain estimates it could take as little as 117,314 pro-EU voters using their vote tactically to prevent a Tory majority - representing less than 1% of those who voted in 2017.”

Best for Britain said if pro-EU voters shut Mr Johnson’s party out in all 57 he would wake up on December 13 with just 309 seats – a dozen short of a majority.

Labour would be on 244 seats, SNP 52, the Lib Dems would win 21 seats, Plaid 4 seats and the Greens 1.

The group’s CEO Naomi Smith said: “Our data shows that tactical voting will be decisive at the upcoming election.

“Even with the Brexit Party collapse, there are still lots of seats in play for remainers.

“This is crucial as it means they could be won by pro-EU parties if voters hold their nose and vote for the party with the best shot of beating the Tories.”

The seat-by-seat analysis of 39,476 British adults was carried out between 15 October and 24 November by Focaldata, using the MRP technique to allow constituency-level forecasts.

The company’s founder Justin Ibbetts said: “There are 14 Conservative held seats where the margin of victory is lower than 2%.

“Clearly this election is on a knife-edge, where even small changes in the number of votes each party wins could swing key seats.”


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“At the current point in time, the Tories have a generous lead in all the polls for this election and Star give the Conservatives a very strong chance (2/5, or 71.43%) of a majority. Assuming a 10% difference between them and Labour, who are 22/1 (4.35%) for a majority, and 10/1 (9.09%) for the most seats, then it’s overwhelmingly likely that Boris Johnson will get a majority.

"If the margins between the Tories and the Labour parties are even 3 to 4% less than the current polling averages, then a majority would not be a safe bet for Boris Johnson and it’s worth remembering how tight the 2017 result actually was -  according to the Electoral Reform Society, the Conservatives could have won an absolute majority with just 533 extra votes in the nine most marginal constituencies, and a working majority could have been achieved on just 75 additional votes in the right places.

"Labour, on the other hand, were just 2,227 votes away from having the chance to make Jeremy Corbyn Prime Minister in 2017, based on seven seats. The influence of six figures worth of tactical votes, if in the right places, could change everything here and Star are still short on a Hung Parliament, going just 2/1 (33.33%)".

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